ALPRO CALLS ON THE EU TO SPEAK AGAINST EXTRA RESTRICTIONS ON PLANT-BASED PRODUCTS
22 February 2021 - A possible European ban on the use of expressions such as ‘alternative to yoghurt’, ‘does not contain milk’ or terms such as ‘creamy’ to describe plant-based alternatives to dairy – also known as ‘Amendment 171’ – will be discussed by the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission in March. Alpro, together with ENSA (European Plant-based Foods Association) and 92 other organizations (European Alliance for Plant-based Foods), call on Member States, Parliament and the Commission to oppose Amendment 171 in a joint letter because it goes against the EU’s consumers interests in transparent communication, fair competition and its climate ambitions with more plant-based as part of a nutritional sustainable food system. Moreover, Alpro believes that these extra restrictions will disrupt consumers’ understanding of their available options and will limit their ability to make informed choices, while eating more plant-based is a vital step in living more sustainably and it is important for the future of our planet.
Driving force behind the food revolution
Alpro’s mission is to change the way the world eats for the better, contributing to the global 'Food Revolution': a movement that aims to eat and drink in a healthier and more sustainable way. The brand pledge to “Feed our Future with Plants” says it all. The challenge is to keep the planet producing healthy food and make plant-based available and accessible to all. To this end, Alpro strives to offer consumers a wide range of plant-based products that fit into a plant-based or flexitarian diet and provide them with knowledge to make informed food-choices. Alpro also continues to work towards zero-impact for its own operations, reducing its impact in carbon, water use and waste, through for example a partnership with WWF on water management as part of its One Planet target setting program*.
Sue Garfitt, General Manager at Alpro and President of the European Plant-based Foods Association, explains: "Millions of people are increasingly aware of the personal and environmental benefits of plant-based diets. Alpro’s mission is to promote more flexitarian diets. We want to bring more and more choice, variety and taste to consumers. I am convinced that policy makers too are beginning to recognize the importance and urgency of shifting the food system in a more sustainable direction, working with nature rather than against it. That is why we are asking the EU Trilogue to stand by the position of the Commission and reject Amendment 171 because current legal framework is sufficient when enforced."
Clear framework in place, Amendment 171 considered overregulation without positive impact
The current EU regulatory framework already provides clear rules, in place for over 30 years, on the use of dairy terms. Names such as ‘soy milk’ or ‘vegetarian cheese’, for example, are not allowed in the EU. Amendment 171 is not a mere modification of these existing rules as it would only impose extra restrictions that are unnecessary, excessive and counterproductive. If interpreted in the strictest sense, it may even impact widely accepted commercial practices such as using terms like "creamy" and "buttery" to inform the consumer about the texture and flavour of a plant-based food and using illustrations (e.g. a picture of a plant-based white beverage being poured in a glass) and packaging for plant-based foods that are also used for dairy products. Alpro thus calls on the European Commission, Parliament and Member States to oppose Amendment 171, because:
The existing regulatory landscape is very clear, and Amendment 171 would introduce far-reaching restrictions on consumer information about plant-based food products. In the context of the F2F (Farm To Fork strategy) and with the aspiration from consumers to shift towards flexitarian diet, Alpro does not believe that adding new restrictions to plant based “denominations” will enhance consumer information in any way, nor that it will provide consumers with clearer, more accurate or even more useful information. On the contrary, Alpro is convinced it will disrupt their understanding of the offer and will limit their ability to make informed choices.
It would deprive consumers of important information about the suitability of plant-based products in their diet, e.g. through prohibition of the words “lactose-free”, “dairy-free” or through comparisons between dairy and dairy alternatives on e.g. nutrition or sustainability characteristics.
These provisions would unfairly discriminate against plant-based food products which are used as an alternative to dairy products.
Amendment 171 was not subject to an impact assessment; Alpro considers that its negative impacts on consumers, the environment and the plant-based food sector would be disproportionate to its legitimate aim.
Amendment 171 would contradict Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on Food Information to Consumers (FIC Regulation); it would ultimately create more legal uncertainty than the current rules already in place.
Alpro stands up for plant-based
Alpro calls on the European Trilogue to be consistent with the F2F** strategy, and to oppose Amendment 171 in order to promote plant-based choices in a fair and informed way. In the absence of a demonstrated positive impact of Amendment 171, Alpro calls on policy-makers not to introduce unnecessary restrictions which would put plant-based brands and companies at a disproportionate and unjustified disadvantage and thwart valuable information to consumers. The move towards a flexitarian diet is contributing to the future of the planet, and consumers deserve an informed choice. Alpro takes pride in its transparency when talking about its products, and will continue to strive for that, making it as easy as possible for consumers to integrate plant-based in their daily routines. Join the conversation on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!
Proud to be the pioneer of plant-based eating and drinking, Alpro has been creating delicious plant-based alternatives to milk, yogurt, cream, custard, desserts and ice cream for 40 years, made from either non-GM soya beans, coconuts, almonds, hazelnuts, rice or oats. Alpro, being part of Danone, has its head office in Ghent (Belgium) and three production facilities in Belgium, France and the United Kingdom. Alpro markets its products in Europe and beyond and contributes to further growth of plant-based food. Since 1980, Alpro has had the single-minded purpose to pioneer healthier eating and sustainable living. Since 2018, Alpro is B Corp certified because of its efforts to combine social and environmental goals with financial success. Alpro now takes its ambition further, with a health and sustainability pledge called “Feeding our Future with Plants” launched in 2020. With commitments centered around two topics, Health and Planet, Alpro’s ambition is to promote a measurable dietary shift towards more plant-based eating by 2025.
Ann De Jaeger - VP General Counsel & Head of Corporate Affairs +32 475 20 13 44 - firstname.lastname@example.org
* For more information on our engagements with WWF, please check https://www.alpro.com/uk/good-for-the-planet/
**The Farm to Fork strategy is the cornerstone of the European Green Deal that aims to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. It addresses the challenges of sustainable food systems and recognizes the links between healthy people, healthy societies and a healthy planet.